Duke Ellington

Priceless Jazz

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This above-average mid-priced compilation was assembled from some of the highlights of three classic early-'60s Ellington releases: Duke Ellington Meets Coleman Hawkins, Live at the Whitney, and Duke Ellington and John Coltrane. The purpose of this 11-song compilation was to introduce the casual listener to Ellington working with a medium-sized or small band setting that highlights his piano as well as featuring the work of some notable soloists. "Mood Indigo" is here, along with a sizzling version of "The Jeep Is Jumpin'," but the real highlights are the Coltrane numbers ("C Jam Blues," etc.) and Whitney tracks, which feature Ellington's piano in ever-more-visible fashion, the Whitney numbers being almost piano solo tracks accompanied only by bass and drums -- the medley of early Ellington pieces and the performance of "Satin Doll" are worth the price of the CD.

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